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Posted by Curbie on April 3, 2009, 4:48 pm


For people who already raise farm animals I like methane, for those
who don't, I don't.

I like solar thermal for heat (space and water) and would recommend
going as large as space permits. It can be a simple home-built device
that if properly done should last 20 years without much maintenance
and returns are high.

My point was if you do solar thermal as big as you can with thermal
storage, and one electricity generating system (in your case an ICE)
all you have to focus on is growing your own bio-fuel (what type, and
how much). Once you have a general purpose raw fuel and electricity
all else falls into place.

In the winter; solar thermal collects and stores as much heat as it
can, at night you use your ICE to charge your batteries and add the
waste ICE heat to thermal storage, if there's not enough stored for
night supplement with thermal storage with a  bio-fuel heater.

In the summer; slow the circulating pump to raise the temperature if
to storage for distilling ethanol or water.

You can also use bio-fuel for powering vehicles, lawn tractors, ...
the point being that the system components are now complementary with
sum of the system being greater then total for individual components.

More ramblings.


On Fri, 3 Apr 2009 08:26:52 -0800, "Ulysses"

Posted by Morris Dovey on April 3, 2009, 5:39 pm
Curbie wrote:

Something you might find interesting...

Back in February 19th I got a bit of help with heat storage calculations
based on the building at http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/SC_Madison/  in
alt.solar.thermal (sub: Physics help please - heat storage) and ended up
with an interesting result:

A six inch slab floor heated to room temperature (any reasonable room
temperature you care to choose) contains enough heat energy to raise the
temperature of the air in that space (with 10' ceilings) from _very_
cold to that room temperature 73 times.

Near the end of the thread I posted a summary that included a simple
program to do the calculation.

Heat storage doesn't appear to be quite as big a deal as it's made out
to be.

Footnote: A well-designed solar panel works satisfyingly well on
completely overcast days. :)

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by Curbie on April 3, 2009, 7:54 pm


Thanks for the thread I locked it and will cross-ref the formulas with
the ones I currently use which is timely because I've been working on
them for the past couple weeks.

Do you have a link to a home-built active drain-back type system
(including panels and system plans & resources) that you are fond of?



Posted by Morris Dovey on April 3, 2009, 9:35 pm
 Curbie wrote:

I just got back from an excursion to pick up torch and regulators so I
can /begin/ my plumbing education. :)

To date, I've tried (diligently) to avoid panels that were either active
or wet - because of a love of simplicity and a dislike for designs with
/any/ associated failure modes.

But you're not out of luck - there are a whole bunch of folks over on
alt.solar.thermal who /can/ provide good info, and I suspect that you
won't have much difficulty figuring out which ones provide worthwhile
information and which ones are only talkers. :)

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by Ulysses on April 7, 2009, 4:04 pm

I have a new (two-year-old) manufactured home.  I had them put in as much
insulation and they could get into it.  I have double-pane windows.  We do
not need to turn on any comfort heating until the temp outside drops to
about 35 degrees F.  I've given a lot of thought to solar thermal space
heating but we just don't have much of a need for it.  We use the fireplace
only about 30 days a year.  Other times we just turn on Mr. Heater for a few

I just (yesterday) completed by new-and-improved ICE battery charger and now
I only need to run it about 1 1/2-2 hours per day (night).  I'm not sure if
that's enough time to get much advantage from co-heat.  I did play around
with using the exhaust to make some steam.  I figured I could get enough to
power a small alternator but perhaps only 100 watts or less.  But 100 watts
is 100 watts.  Plus it will, in no way that I could see, increase fuel
consumption or put any additional load on the engine.  Too bad steam power
won't work.

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